Governor?s Approval Opens Way for Desert Claim?s Wind Farm

“Now our next milestone is breaking ground, and that will mean jobs and income for Kittitas County and the state,” said David Steeb, project director. “We’re really looking forward to supporting the region’s economic recovery at last.”

Desert Claim is projected to generate 282 new jobs and $33 million in total economic activity statewide during construction, according to a study by ECONorthwest. A total of 160 of those jobs and $17.3 million in economic activity will be in Kittitas County, according to a study by Central Washington University economics professors.

Construction is expected to begin this summer and will last approximately a year, Steeb said. Desert Claim is being built by enXco, one of the nation’s largest wind energy developers and operators. The company estimates its total investment in the project will be $330 million.

The economic benefits would continue once Desert Claim begins operation. The wind farm would support an estimated 36 jobs and $6.2 million annually in statewide economic activity, the ECONorthwest study found. Up to 25 local jobs and $2.8 million in annual new total economic activity would be in Kittitas County, according to the CWU study.

The project generated strong, broad-based support before the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council’s unanimously favorable recommendation to Gov. Gregoire in November. From both sides of the Cascades, local and state higher-education and K-12 interests, economic development groups, environmental groups, state legislators, business and labor interests, and others testified on the project’s behalf.

enXco also is a partner in the Central Washington Energy Resource Collaborative Innovation Partnership Zone that the state approved last fall for Kittitas County. Focused on developing the renewable-power industry and research within the county, the zone’s other partners include Central Washington University, Kittitas County, the Economic Development Group of Kittitas County, and Puget Sound Energy.

Desert Claim would be located on 5,200 acres about 8 miles northwest of Ellensburg. The project would have 95 wind turbines with the capacity to generate 190 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to generate power for 57,000 homes.

enXco ( – an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company ( – develops, constructs, operates and manages renewable energy projects throughout the United States. For more than two decades, we have been a leader in wind energy focusing on large-scale wind projects. Today enXco’s portfolio includes solar and biomass technologies, in an effort to help drive our nation’s transition to a sustainable energy economy. enXco is a significant owner and developer of wind-energy installations in the United States, and is the leading third-party operations & maintenance provider for wind farms in North America.